Pool tournament helps relieve stress at Anaconda

By Spc. Steven J. Schneider
28th Public Affairs Detachment

LOGISTICS SUPPORT AREA ANACONDA, Balad, Iraq — The 8-ball Tournament at the Morale Welfare and Recreation Complex Sept. 19 gave troops and civilians alike a chance to show their skills, compete and have fun. More than 20 people packed the tent, using the double elimination tournament as a chance to unwind after the sometimes-stressful work schedule here.

"This is so stress relieving," said Spc. Bobby Boyd, 1st Battalion, 244th Command Aviation. "Pool, even back in the rear for me, is just so stress relieving."

Other Soldiers agreed the competition gave them a chance to relax.

"Events like these probably help keep our morale up," said Sgt. David Lemke, 299th Forward Support Battalion.

Lack of practice was one of the reasons many competitors struggled in the opening round, but most of them said they enjoyed having the opportunity to compete.

Boyd was nervous at the beginning because he hadn't the chance to play in such a long time.

"I was kind of talking to everybody to keep my mind off things and to try to stay calm," he said.

But Soldiers weren't the only ones having fun. Civilians like Eoin Rooney, car salesman here, also enjoyed the play.

"I normally play snooker, but I haven't played in a couple years," Rooney said. "It was good to be able to come out here and win a round."

Rooney defeated Lemke early on in the tournament two games to one in the best-of-three play.

"He should have beaten me," Rooney said of his opponent sinking his final shot on the 8-ball in the wrong pocket. "I hung on to the end."

The tournament went on late into the night with ups and downs for players, but one thing is for sure - they all had fun.

"It went well," said Erica Lemons, MWR coordinator, about the pool. "I saw a lot of Soldiers had their game faces on, but they had fun."

In the end, only one could win, Spc. Melvin Graham, 1171st Transportation Company. Graham dominated the tournament, never losing a match.

The formal competition is just part of the fun equipment such as pool tables have brought to the residence of LSA Anaconda.

"It's the most popular of all our tournaments," Lemons said about the 8-ball tournament. "The pool tables are one of the most treasured assets. Next month, we will be having 9-ball tournaments since so many people requested it."

This tournament was just one of many held once a month at the MWR facility. They also run foosball, dart, spades, dominoes, chess and ping pong tournaments.

Beginning next month, night and day tournaments will be held for all events with a championship showdown between the winners of each tournament at the end of the month.

Editors Note: Spc. Schneider is a member of the 28th Public Affairs Detachment from Fort Lewis, Wash. He is currently deployed to Iraq in support of the 13th Corps Support Command at LSA Anaconda.


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(LOGISTICS SUPPORT AREA ANACONDA, Balad, Iraq) - Spc. Chris Coleman, 512th Engineer Battalion, lines up his shot Sept. 19 during Morale Welfare and Recreation's monthly eight-ball tournament at LSA Anaconda.

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(LOGISTICS SUPPORT AREA ANACONDA, Balad, Iraq) - Eoin Rooney, car salesman at LSA Anaconda, fires and misses aiming for the six ball in the corner pocket. Rooney won his first match of 8-ball Tournament play two games to one More than 20 people arrived to take part in the monthly Morale Welfare and Recreation 8-ball Tournament Sept. 19.